Fighting Hard: The Victorian Aborigines Advancement League

Fighting Hard cover

Richard Broome

Feb, 2015
Product type: 
Book format: 
Aboriginal Studies Press
Place of publication: 
$39.95 RRP incl. GST

Fighting hard tells a history of the Aborigines Advancement League, the oldest Aboriginal organisation in Australia. As both a welfare and activist body, the League is the ‘mother’ of all Aboriginal Victorian community organisations, having spawned a diverse range of organisations.

The League influenced the fight for civil rights and took a stand against the government’s assimilation policy. Its activism with government and the United Nations predates the better known Tent Embassy and provided a Victorian, national and international perspective on Aboriginal affairs.

Begun as a coalition of all Australians, in 1969 a black power takeover changed its management to Aboriginal community control – something which was managed peacefully and fruitfully. Its national significance is marked by the League’s leadership where, from the 1970s, many community heroes became role models for Aboriginal youth.

Over the years the League has proven that despite the pervasive mythology, Aboriginal people are able to successfully govern their own organisations. In particular, the League has proven its capacity for managing good governance while maintaining Aboriginal cultural values.


This book is a fascinating history of the League. I enjoyed every moment of reading it.  This is not only a history that our people can embrace, it is also a cultural education for the wider community. — Esme Bamblett, CEO, Aborigines Advance League Inc.

Richard Broome, master storyteller and meticulous historian, brings to life the personalities as well as the politics behind Australia’s longest-lasting Aboriginal advocacy group.  — Russell McGregor, Adjunct Professor of History at James Cook University, author of the award-winning Indifferent inclusion

A humanist has closed a crucial gap in contemporary Aboriginal history. Richard Broome’s portrait of the significant Aborigines Advancement League illuminates aspects of our race relations that most people would rather not see, but need to see. — Professor Colin Tatz

Last reviewed: 12 Sep 2016